"In December 2018, hemp was legalized under the farm bill," said Jill Gress, vice president of Radius Global Market Research. "As a research firm that tries to stay abreast of the most cutting-edge topics, we were interested in starting this trend report analyzing findings, as the industry is beginning to rapidly expand and product usage is increasing quickly. We came across very interesting findings, especially amongst demographics and social structures we were not expecting."
The overarching finding in the report showed that American adults are increasingly consuming cannabis/hemp products for medical reasons. For example:
- 58% of those aged 55+ said they used for pain management
- 51% of those aged 18-34 said they used for sleeping
- 43% of adults 18+ used for mental health
- 29% of adults 18+ for reducing the usage of prescription medications
Beyond medical reasons, there were interesting themes that contradicted what the stereotypical status quo, in relation to brands, marital status and income. For example:
Men care about brands more than women; even if the brand doesn't make cannabis yet: 58% of people were likely to buy from brands they trusted, but men more likely than women (62% vs. 55%). In addition, people were more likely to buy from brands they trusted, that offered cannabis products—for example, Oreo is considering making CBD snacks.
It's not the typical stoner anymore, income matters. The higher income range, the more consumers agreed. This shows a significant market opportunity for the cannabis industry. The higher the income, the more they tended to agree that additional research was needed; 71% of those making a salary at or above $100,000 per year agreed they wish for more research to be done, compared to 46% of those making a salary of $49,000 or less per year.
If you're married, you're trying more cannabis and care about research. Consumers consuming the cannabis or hemp products to reduce reliance on prescription medication are more likely to be married (32%) than single (25%). The survey found that those who are married were more likely to use cannabis (44%) compared to those who are not (37%).
Research is continuing to commence. Just last month Harvard and MIT alumnus Charles Broderick donated $9 million to his alma mater for marijuana research, specifically to determine the cognitive and psychological effects. Both institutions describe the donation as the largest private funding of marijuana research.
According to Gress, "Cannabis and hemp usage is increasing with more legalization across the country, but with a billion-dollar business on the cusp of exploding into mainstream products, adults are unsure of terminology and lack education. While they are more likely to consider trying, they do want more information and this will need to come from the industry itself."
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Radius Global Market Research Jan. 24-26, 2019 among 2,020 adults 18+. The sample is representative of U.S. adults. The survey was conducted utilizing an online panel of respondents.